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We realize that there are many different interpretations of the standard grades used
for pre-owned vinyl record albums & CD, so we thought we'd offer you the ones that we are working with,
so you have an idea what we mean when we give the grade for a non-new item on our pages.
Used Vinyl Grades
Below are stated conditions for a used vinyl records at Dusty Groove. Grading for
the cover should be assumed to be near (within a "+" or "-")
the grading for the vinyl.
If there is significant divergence from the condition of the vinyl, or specific flaws,
these will be noted in the comments section of the item. However, please be aware that
since the emphasis of this site is towards the music listener, our main concern is with
the vinyl of any used item we sell. Additionally, all of our records
are graded visually; considering the volume of used vinyl we handle, it is impossible
for us to listen to each record. If we spot any significant flaws, we make every attempt
to listen through them and note how they play.
The following grading conditions apply to the vinyl component of an album or single:
This is what it says, that the record is still held fast in shrink-wrap.
We tend to be pretty suspicious about these things, so if the shrink-wrap doesn't
look original, or if the record seems to have undergone some damage over time,
we'll probably take it out of the wrapper to ensure that it's in good shape —
which is why we don't have more of these. In some cases the shrink-wrap may be
torn in spots, but if it's not possible the record has been taken out and played,
the record will still qualify as "Sealed".
Dusty Groove does not use the grades of Near Mint
(or Mint, for that matter) because in our experience, we find that no records
ever qualify for such a high grade. Even sealed records tend to have one or two
slight faults, enough to usually qualify them for a grade of NM- or lower. We've
often found that records which are clearly unplayed will have a slight amount of
surface noise, especially in quieter recordings.
Near Mint - (minus)
Black vinyl that may show a slight amount of dust or dirt.
Should still be very shiny under a light, even with slight amount of dust on surface.
One or two small marks that would make an otherwise near perfect record slightly less so.
These marks cannot be too deep, and should only be surface marks that won't affect play,
but might detract from the looks.
May have some flaws and discoloration in the vinyl, but only those that would be
intrinsic to the pressing. These should disappear when the record is tilted under
the light, and will only show up when looking straight at the record.
(Buddah and ABC pressings from the 70's are a good example of this.)
May have some slight marks from aging of the paper sleeve on the vinyl.
Possible minor surface noise when played.
Very Good + (plus)
Vinyl should be very clean, but can have less luster than near mint.
Should still shine under a light, but one or two marks may show up when tilted.
Can have a few small marks that may show up easily, but which do not affect play at all. Most marks of this quality will disappear when the record is tilted, and will not be felt with the back of a fingernail.
This is the kind of record that will play "near mint", but which will have
some signs of use (although not major ones).
May have slight surface noise when played.
Vinyl can have some dirt, but nothing major.
May not shine under light, but should still be pretty clean,
and not too dirty.
May have a number of marks (5 to 10 at most), and obvious signs of play,
but never a big cluster of them, or any major mark that would be very deep.
Most marks should still not click under a fingernail.
May not look near perfect, but should play fairly well,
with slight surface noise, and the occasional click in part of a song,
but never throughout a whole song or more.
This is clearly a copy that was played by someone a number of times,
but which could also be a good "play copy" for someone new.
Very Good - (minus)
Vinyl may be dirty, and can lack a fair amount of luster.
Vinyl can have a number of marks, either in clusters or smaller amounts, but deeper.
This is the kind of record that you'd buy to play,
but not because it looked that great. Still, the flaws should be mostly cosmetic,
with nothing too deep that would ruin the overall record.
Examples include a record that has been kept for a while in a
cover without the paper sleeve, or heavily played by a previous owner
and has some marks across the surface. The record should play okay,
though probably with surface noise.
Good + (plus)
Vinyl may be dirty, or have one outstanding flaw,
such as a light residue, which could be difficult to clean.
May have marks on all parts, too many to qualify as Very Good-,
or several deeper marks, but the record should still be ok for play without skips.
In general, this is a record that was played a fair amount,
and handled without care. A typical example may be a record which has
been heavily played by a DJ, and carries marks from slip cueing.
Depending on the quality of the vinyl, may play with surface noise throughout.
A record that you'd buy to play, cheap, but which you wouldn't buy for collecting.
Will have marks across all parts of the playing surface,
and will most likely play with surface noise throughout.
May have some other significant flaws, such as residue, or a track that skips.
In most cases, a poor quality copy of a very difficult to find record.
This is a grade we rarely use, as we try not to sell records
in very bad condition, though in some rare cases we will list a
record in such bad shape that it does not conform to the standards above.
A "Fair" record will have enough marks or significant flaws that it
does not even qualify as "Good", but is a copy you might consider
for playing, if you're willing to put up with noise and/or flaws.
An example might be a recording with surface noise so heavy that
it is equal to the volume of the music. For records listed as "Fair",
we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.
Like "Fair", we rarely list records in this condition,
as they represent the extreme low end of spectrum.
These records typically have multiple serious problems,
and we offer them as "relics" or "objects" only — for
those who want to at least have a copy of a record,
even if it is not really worthy of play, perhaps for the cover alone.
For these records, we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.
Additional Marks & Notes
If something is noteworthy, we try to note it in the comments — especially
if it is an oddity that is the only wrong thing about the record.
This might include, but isn't limited to, warped records, tracks that skip,
cover damage or wear as noted above, or strictly cosmetic flaws.
Used CD Grade
We have only one grade for non-new CDs at Dusty Groove — "Used CD".
This grade is somewhat all-encompassing, but we choose it because we try to offer
Used CDs in the best shape possible.
When you purchase a Used CD you can expect the disc to be free of all but the
lightest of surface marks, the case to be clean (we often change the cases ourselves),
and the booklet to be in good shape.
Used CDs may show some signs of use but if there are significant details or
defects we will list them underneath the item — just like we do with LPs —
so look there for notes on cutout marks, stickers, promo stamps or other details.
All of our Used CDs are guaranteed to play without skipping or flaws.
If you purchase a Used CD from Dusty Groove, you have 1 week to play it to determine
that it plays correctly —
and if it does not, then you may return it for a full refund.
One of the funkiest albums ever cut by the mighty Nikki Giovanni – a set that has these fantastic arrangements from Arif Mardin that are in the best style of early 70s Atlantic Records soul – provided with drums from Bernard Pretty Purdie, keyboards from Richard Tee, guitar from Cornell ... LP, Vinyl record album
An amazing setting for the righteous words and message of Nikki Giovanni – as the set has the poet working with backing vocals by the New York Community Choir, who also recorded a great soul album on RCA around the same time – and an overall approach that elevates Nikki's poetry into a ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great lost chapter in the career of Darlene Love – a soul singer who's maybe known best for her early work with Phil Spector in The Crystals – but who ended up with a long legacy in music, which is partly added to by this collection! The core of the set features some mid 60s ... LP, Vinyl record album
Fantastic work from Abiodun Oyewole – best known as one of the founding members of the legendary Last Poets – but a singer who works here with a contemporary crispness that goes way beyond his roots! The message in Abiodun's older recordings is still alive and well here – in part ... LP, Vinyl record album
The one and only album ever cut by The Winstons – an obscure mixed-race soul combo who had roots in Otis Redding's touring band, and who hit big with a soul Grammy in 1969 for the title track to this one, "Color Him Father". The cut's an amazing document of its time, a sweet little ... LP, Vinyl record album
A sublime second chapter of work from Booker T & The MGs – pulled from a time when Stax Records was stepping out of the influence of Atlantic, and really opening the door to a wide variety of new soul sounds! That approach is definitely in place here – as the tracks really evolve ... LP, Vinyl record album
Doris Duke's no loser at all – certainly not with a record this great – a killer set of deep soul tracks that may well stand as the singer's finest moment ever! Doris works here at a level that rivals all the best southern-tinged singers of her generation – Aretha Franklin, Ann ... LP, Vinyl record album
The rare first album by The Brief Encounter – a mid 70s funk group from North Carolina, but one who doesn't feel like a southern soul combo at all – as they work here with a sweet, strong, and jazzy flavor that makes them feel like the best of the California scene in the 70s! The group ... LP, Vinyl record album
A well-selected batch of work from one of the greatest soul singers of all time – and cuts that are presented here in rare mono mixes, all taken from the original mono tapes! The work includes important early sides that Redding cut at Stax Records – where he was the reigning star ... LP, Vinyl record album
A fantastic blend of two funky styles – that of the James Brown group of the early 70s, and the always mighty P-Funk nation of the late 70s! After Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker came head to head with James Brown in the mid 70s, they broke off and formed the Horny Horns contingent – a ... LP, Vinyl record album
A classic 70s soul soundtrack – and a dream of a combination! Curtis Mayfield wrote the soundtrack and produced the album – and the result is a killer batch of 70s soul tracks that matches Aretha's strong vocals with the hip Curtom sound of Chicago! Aretha was still doing pretty well ... LP, Vinyl record album
Pure genius from Donny Hathaway – a 70s soul giant who burned brightly for just a few years, then was taken away from us all too soon! In our book, Donny is every bit a giant of the decade as Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield – and you'll hear work here that easily matches the best of ... LP, Vinyl record album